Porsche makes sports cars, we all know that. So what is it doing dabbling in the SUV market? Well, it’s making sporty SUVs, that’s what. The Macan is its smallest and sportiest SUV. It might be tall like an off-roader, shaped like something practical, but it still drives with all the crisp attitude of a sports car.
There was a time when Porsche’s design language looked awkward when applied to an SUV. The clean and neat looking Macan signals that those days are over. This handsome car has short overhangs and tidy lines.
It is not subtle, though. Even though the world is used to fast off-roaders – the original Porsche SUV, the Cayenne, launched 19 years ago – the Macan looks like it’s trying to prove it’s worthy of its performance car status.
Its headlights and the fang-like struts that separate the front grille mean that it looks undeniably like a Porsche, and therefore screams ‘who wants to go faster’ like a waltzer operator. At the back, its full-width light strip and an array of exhaust pipes creates a suitably aggressive appearance.
The Macan looks like it’s trying to prove it’s worthy of its performance car status.
What’s it like to drive?
If you’d trust anyone to make a high-riding SUV that was fun to drive, it’d be Porsche. As a result, it comes as no surprise to find that the Macan is a hoot when you’re behind the wheel.
You really need to recalibrate yourself once you’ve clambered aboard the Macan. You need to forget its reasonably bulky size and high-up driving position and treat it like a seriously powerful all-wheel-drive hot hatch. It’s so accomplished at hiding its weight, you never consider its size. It also transfers its power to the road so effectively, you never worry about managing its incredible performance.
Porsche recently launched the Macan T, which is a big deal because it's the first Porsche SUV to carry the 'Touring' badge. This Macan was made to combine the thrilling driving you get in Sports and Sports Plus mode with the comfort you'd expect for all the family. It's not as all-round aggressive as the Macan GTS, but it certainly keeps you smiling as you round those bends!
It comes as no surprise to find that the Macan is a hoot when you’re behind the wheel.
It’s clear from the moment you sit in the front seat, the Porsche Macan’s interior is designed for drivers. The seat and steering wheel have ample adjustment, so you can find the perfect position. You’re also sat cocooned within the car, even though you’re quite high up, ideal for feeling in command.
The steering wheel has a few too many controls, while the rest of the gadgets operate from physical buttons – ones you can feel and press without any distractions from the road. The final piece in the performance car package, a big and clearly marked rev counter slap bang in the middle of the dials, so you always know what’s going on with the engine.
As an expensive luxury car and a sports car, the Macan is well-appointed. It has automatic headlights and wipers, a self-opening tailgate and there’s a big touchscreen on the dash with navigation, digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity – everything you really need.
The fit and finish of the whole interior really shows up the car’s quality feel. It’s as though it was built to very tight tolerances – it’s solid with no creaks or rattles. Even the leather-clad parts, although smooth and clearly high-end, are tough – as if makers can’t machine those soft surfaces accurately enough for the Macan. The combination of a driver-focused design and precisely engineered elements perfectly mirror the attitude of the entire car.
There are more practical SUVs than the Macan. That’s no surprise - no one ever bought a Porsche because it was the most sensible choice. That being said, the Macan is more than big enough in the back for a couple of adults or a trio of children. Plus, the boot can accommodate four chunky suitcases, a set of golf clubs or a pushchair.
The rear seats fold down individually too, which lets you lower just the middle seat and pass long objects through, like skis, while still carrying two rear passengers. The rear seats, however, leave a little ridge in the boot and don’t fold completely flat.
Running costs and reliability
You can expect just under 40mpg from the petrol-powered Porsche Macans, and over 45mpg for the diesel models – economical considering its size and performance. What you save on fuel, however, you’ll easily spend on costly servicing, high insurance, expensive tyres – the downside of running a Porsche.
Porsche has a reputation for building well-engineered, high quality and durable performance cars – the result of all those decades of endurance motorsport. The Macan continues to build on Porsche's esteemed position and has proved to be a reliable SUV.
What we love
The Porsche Macan feels tightly bundled – it squeezes ballistic road-crushing performance, expert levels of control and high-quality finishes into a compact, but not too small, package. It’s a car that doesn't force you to compromise, it's a practical family car and it's a fun sports car, too.
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The Porsche Macan is as big and as spacious as you’d expect of any compact SUV. It’s also a supremely gifted sports car that cleverly uses its ample performance, grip and technology to create a really joyous driving experience. It handles in a way that makes you question if you'd ever really need a sports car.
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